Elizabeth-Anne Callaghan says the Tory cuts to child tax credits are bad enough, but the so-called “rape clause” is an abhorrence rightly opposed by people from across the political spectrum.

 

‘Support for a child conceived without your consent, including rape or while you were in a coercive or controlling relationship form’

You would be forgiven for thinking the above 8 page form was the work of a South Korean or communist China government. It’s the work of the UK Tory government. It is their “rape clause”.

The applicant has to sign the declaration – I believe the non-consensual conception exemption applies to my child.

Then print your child’s name.

Rape happens in marriage, in controlling relationships, to young teenage girls and in most cases, the rapist is known to the victim. Its a horrific act of violence that can leave years of emotional scars. The UK has one of the lowest conviction rates in Europe.

Last week more brutal welfare reform came into place, along with 18-21 year-olds no longer being entitled to Housing Benefit (which will no doubt see a rise in rough sleeping amongst youngsters), the ‘family cap’ came into effect. Any family which has a third or subsequent child born after April 2017 will not qualify for Child Tax Credit. This will also apply to families claiming Universal Credit for the first time after April 2017.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss has led a cross-party campaign to raise awareness of the rape clause and protest against this abomination, along with Woman’s Aid, Rape Crisis and other third sector organisations. However, the Tory government arrogantly pressed ahead.

The two-child cap is horrendous enough as this will no doubt have a devastating effect on child poverty levels, but to subject a victim of rape to such cruelty, it makes the UK Tory government no better than savages.

Ruth Davidson made a dire and pathetic attempt to defend her Westminster Tory colleagues when she said the rape clause was “the most sensitive way possible”. I’d hate to think what Ruth Davidson would consider insensitive.

In the next few weeks we will see Ruth Davidson’s Tories make a callous play to increase the number of councillors they have under the pretence they will protect the Union. The fact is they cannot protect Britain’s most vulnerable, never mind a union of nations. They have seen rise in food banks, are destroying the NHS, seen wages freeze, been hypocrites over Brexit and now their rape clause adds further insult to injury. If any party has the capability to destroy the UK, the Tory Party is number one.

The rape clause and the two-child cap shames Britain and I hope the cross-party protest brings a rapid end to this. But I fear the Tories will prioritise saving face above all else.